Many Mississippi Free Press readers previously subscribed to the Jackson Free Press’ long-time newsletter or picked up physical copies of our newspaper whenever they saw a newsstand supplying them. Our people-forward features were common in the JFP—known as our Jacksonian articles on page 3 in printed editions and as Person of the Day stories online. We featured thousands of people over two decades.
Everyone has a story. Everyone’s life can seem interesting when presented effectively in text. The JFP’s Person of the Day articles, or PODs (we say “P.O.D.”), exemplified these sentiments by spotlighting Jacksonians from various age brackets, professional fields, gender groups, ethnic backgrounds and spheres of influence. We strove to show that all Jacksonians mattered, whether their family had been in the metro for generations or whether they moved to the area for work just six months prior. Some of them got the call-out honor for doing something negative, too.
Now, the Mississippi Free Press wants to carry on that tradition. We have already published a number of stories focusing on individual Mississippians. Recent examples include Torsheta Jackson’s articles on Chef Nick Wallace of Jackson earning yet another accolade and solidifying plans for future goals and on 14-year-old singer-songwriter Scarlett Sullivan, who released a single she created to support her younger sister who had developed leukemia.
Our geographic scope, though, is much larger than the JFP’s. As a statewide publication, one of our goals is for Mississippians in every corner of the state to feel represented in our reporting. Mississippi contains 82 counties and more than 400 cities, towns and census-designated places. I certainly don’t know the names of all of them, but I strive to learn more about the areas sizable and small that comprise our home and the people who live in them.
To facilitate our expansion of coverage, though, we need your help.
Every one of you reading this editor’s note right now knows someone who would make a great POD. And we’re not just talking about well-known people. Most aren’t.
Maybe you know the chief of a volunteer fire department for an area with less than a thousand residents; a sanitation engineer who has worked in the industry for 20-plus years; a student who advocates for certain causes and organizes events or demonstrations at their high school or university; an aspiring entrepreneur who just opened their first business; a receptionist or an IT expert at a nonprofit near you; or perhaps an elderly neighbor who has lived a long, intriguing life and has a plethora of stories to tell.
No one is too big or too small to deserve recognition for the lives they lead and the work they have accomplished. All Mississippians matter to the MFP.
If you scan this newsletter, you will notice that we have added a new banner image inviting you to nominate someone to be considered for a POD article. This advertisement will be included in newsletters going forward, so whenever you meet anyone interesting or think of someone you believe has earned some spotlight, just click the image or visit mfp.ms/pod to complete a brief questionnaire about your nominee. We ask for their name, which area of Mississippi they represent, a means of contacting them to request an interview, and a few details about who they are and why you nominated them.
My hope is to see the day when each town in Mississippi has had a resident spotlighted in our publication. Your assistance can help that goal come to fruition.
Over time, we hope for PODs to become a daily occurrence. Donating to the MFP will help us expand our freelancing budget so that we can expand our roster of paid writers to interview Mississippians across the map. Anyone interested in joining our team of freelancers can email me at [email protected]. We accept and train writers with varying degrees of experience.
Thank you all for your time. I look forward to becoming acquainted with the nominees you submit as candidates for Person of the Day features.
Deputy Editor, News and Features